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Faculty Publications

2012

Environmental Law

Decentralization

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Interstate Competition And The Race To The Top, Jonathan H. Adler Jan 2012

Interstate Competition And The Race To The Top, Jonathan H. Adler

Faculty Publications

This essay, based on remarks at the 211 Federalist Society Student Symposium, discusses some of the benefits of federalism. Many of the benefits of federalism derive from interjurisdictional competition, as competition among jurisdictions is a powerful means to discover and promote welfare-enhancing policies. Decentralizing authority over various policy matters also leaves states free to account for regional variation and can facilitate policy discovery and entrepreneurship and reduce the risks of policy failures. While the arguments for decentralization are strong, there are persuasive justifications for federal intervention in some instances, such as the existence of interstate spillovers. Fears of a “race ...